PRECESSION: Dynamics of spinning black-hole binaries with python

Gerosa, Davide ; Kesden, Michael (2016-06-27)


We present the numerical code precession, a new open-source python module to study the dynamics of precessing black-hole binaries in the post-Newtonian regime. The code provides a comprehensive toolbox to (i) study the evolution of the black-hole spins along their precession cycles, (ii) perform gravitational-wave-driven binary inspirals using both orbit-averaged and precession-averaged integrations, and (iii) predict the properties of the merger remnant through fitting formulas obtained from numerical-relativity simulations. precession is a ready-to-use tool to add the black-hole spin dynamics to larger-scale numerical studies such as gravitational-wave parameter estimation codes, population synthesis models to predict gravitational-wave event rates, galaxy merger trees and cosmological simulations of structure formation. precession provides fast and reliable integration methods to propagate statistical samples of black-hole binaries from/to large separations where they form to/from small separations where they become detectable, thus linking gravitational-wave observations of spinning black-hole binaries to their astrophysical formation history. The code is also a useful tool to compute initial parameters for numerical-relativity simulations targeting specific precessing systems. precession can be installed from the python Package Index, and it is freely distributed under version control on github, where further documentation is provided.